Correspondence Between Saints Highlights Sept 20th Sale

Correspondence Between Saints

Correspondence Between Saints

On Thursday, September 20th, PBA Galleries will offer Rare Books and Manuscripts from the Library of James “Ted” Watkins. Included in the sale are over 300 lots of rare, interesting, and significant material from six centuries, spanning the gamut of Western civilization, from the early days of Christianity to modern science fiction.  Ted Watkins’ interests were many and varied, with few bounds on his intellectual curiosity. Primary to his collection is the large number of scarce works relating to the Christian religion, particularly Catholicism. There is also a selection of modern literature, including collections of Ray Bradbury and Flannery O’Connor plus illustrated books, fine bindings, history, political science, and more.

The highlight of the sale is a two-page autograph letter from Louise de Merillac de Gras, with 11 lines of notations in the hand of Vincent de Paul. This rare correspondence between two future saints who worked together in the co-founding of the Daughters of Charity (later Sisters of Charity) in 1634, is beautifully matted and framed with both sides visible in a hinged frame which is attached to a larger frame, with dual portrait and three engraved plates, one identifying the signers, one with an English translation of the letter, and the third with a long descriptive essay. (Estimate: $10,000-$15,000)

Illuminated manuscript of The Vision of Sir Launfal

Illuminated manuscript of The Vision of Sir Launfal

Other featured religious lots include the Illuminated manuscript of James Russell Lowell’s The Vision of Sir Launfal. Exquisitely bound by Sangorski and Sutcliffe in full brown morocco with onlay green and black elaborate Celtic style design, gilt-tooled patterns and borders, spine with raised bands, compartments decoratively lettered and tooled in gilt, the volume was also designed, written out, illuminated by them (Estimate: $10,000-$15,000). The Epistles on Morality (Morali sopra Job) of Pope Gregory I, 2 volumes, published in Florence in 1486, is one of the storehouses of moral science of the Renaissance and his most esteemed work (Estimate: $3,000-$5,000).

Rockwell Kent's Moby Dick

Rockwell Kent’s Moby Dick

Herman Melville’s classic novel of the sea, Moby Dick or the Whale, is limited to 1000 copies, housed in the publisher’s original aluminum slipcase. The three volumes are illustrated with 280 reproductions of pen, brush and ink drawings by Rockwell Kent. This copy is signed by Kent in pencil, with a sketch of a stylized whale tale, the design on the front cover of the book (Estimate: $7,000-$10,000). Another limited edition work housed in an aluminum case in this sale is the Arion Press edition of Edwin A. Abbott’s Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions. Limited to 275 copies, the volume is in an aluminum frame case binding of a unique and innovative design (Estimate: $1,200-$1,800).

Other highlights of the sale include: Flannery O’Connor’s first book, Wise Blood, in the original dust jacket, inscribed by her to the senior editor at Houghton Mifflin (Estimate: $5,000-$8,000); Zane Grey’s Tales of Fresh-Water Fishing, 1926, specially bound for the author in three quarter green morocco, with Grey’s personal blindstamp at the top corner of the front flyleaf (Estimate: $3,000-$5,000); The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, the first edition, 1933, in dust jacket, inscribed by both Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas (Estimate: $1,500-$2,000); and a rare first edition of Girolami Dandini’s Missione apostolica al patriarca to Mount Lebanon, 1656, with descriptions of customs and manners of the Turks, the cities of  Candia and Tripoly, etc. (Estimate: $2,000-$3,000).

The sale will begin at 11:00 am Pacific Time and the public may preview the auction Monday, September 17th, 1 – 5pm, Tuesday and Wednesday, September 18th and 19th, 9am-5pm and on Thursday, September 20th, 9-11am at PBA Galleries in San Francisco. For more information, please contact the galleries at (415) 989-2665 or [email protected].

James “Ted” Watkins

Ted WatkinsTed was born in Portland, Oregon to Jim and Helen Watkins in 1957. Ted attended Christ the King Catholic School and La Salle High School where he excelled academically, athletically and spiritually. He briefly attended Mount Angel Seminary and later earned an undergraduate degree from Portland State University. He went on to graduate from Villanova Law School in 1985.  

Ted was a very successful “Philadelphia lawyer.” While in law school, he helped develop a computer program that enabled large financial institutions to administer cases in various federal jurisdictions. It became the foundation for growing his law firm, Becket & Watkins, from a handful of lawyers to hundreds of lawyers and paralegals. He “retired” from law at age 38 to pursue his dream of opening a bookstore on the Oregon coast.

In 2003, he opened Gold Beach Books, which is the second largest used bookstore in Oregon. He was a fixture in the community, making friends and giving generously to local events and causes.
Ted was a voracious reader, loved fine scotch, occasional cigars and poker.  His travel highlight was taking his dad to Rome to meet Pope John Paul II. He was an excellent storyteller with his quick wit and boisterous voice.

He was a lifelong Catholic whose faith never faltered even when faced with the diagnosis of esophageal cancer in 2014. While his surviving sisters still maintain Ted’s bookstore in Gold Beach, they are offering a selection of his rare books and manuscripts at this auction. Ted enjoyed collecting many genres of literature including Catholicism, American Literature, an extensive collection of Ray Bradbury first editions and art.

Ted was a long-time, valued client of PBA and we are honored to offer his collection in this sale.

E. O. Lawrence’s Biography Signed by Nobel Laureates Featured Sept. 6th

Biography of Ernest Orlando Lawrence signed by Nobel Winners

Biography of Ernest Orlando Lawrence signed by Nobel Winners

On Thursday, September 9th, PBA Galleries will kick off their fall auctions with a Fine Literature and Books in All Fields Sale. On offer, will be over 600 lots of modern first editions, literary landmarks, poetry, science fiction, detective fiction, books in rare, early dust jackets, finely bound books and sets, illustrated and children’s books, early printed books, and much more.

Featured in the Books in All Fields section of the sale is a first edition of An American Genius. The Life of Ernest Orlando Lawrence. A biography of the founder of the Lawrence Berkeley and Lawrence Livermore laboratories, the author inscribed this copy at the opening event of the Lawrence Hall of Science, in Berkeley on May 20, 1968. This copy was also signed, on four pages, by more than 40 scientists, veterans of the Manhattan Project, laboratory staff, officials, and Lawrence family members, including ten Nobel Prize winners. (Estimate: $10,000-$15,000)


Around the World in Eighty Days in Dust Jacket

Around the World in Eighty Days in Dust Jacket

An early American edition of Jules Verne’s masterpiece, Around the World in Eighty Days, c.1878, is a highlight of the literature portion of the sale. In the rare original printed dust jacket, from Porter & Coates, this is a later impression of the first American illustrated edition that appeared in November 1873. (Estimate: $3,000-$5,000)
A first edition of Stephen King’s first published book, Carrie, about a bullied high school girl with telekinetic powers is inscribed and signed by the author. The book is the basis for the Brian DePalma film which earned Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie Academy Award nominations and is one of the most commonly banned books in American schools. (Estimate: $1,500-$2,000)
The Black Sparrow edition of John Fante’s, Ask the Dust, bears signatures of both Fante and Charles Bukowski who wrote the preface. Fante was one of Bukowski’s literary idols having discovered his writings while researching writing that spoke to him at the Los Angeles Public Library. Of Ask the Dust, Bukowski writes “this one is my favorite because it was my first discovery of the magic.” (Estimate: $1,000-$1,500)


Le Roman de la Momie

Le Roman de la Momie

Louis Auchincloss’ Civil Wars, illustrated by Elliott Banfield is accompanied by an extra suite of signed prints. Bound in half green morocco and handmade pastepapers by Luke Ives Pontifell, it is one of 175 copies from the Thornwillow Press signed by the author, illustrator and book designer (Estimate: $1,000-$1,500). Another beautifully illustrated book in the auction is Théophile Gautier’s Le Roman de la Momie, with color wood engravings by Gasperini after George Barbier. In the original printed wrappers, this is one of 834 copies published by Mornay in 1929 on Rives (Estimate: $1,000-$1,500).


Other featured lots include: A Hitherto Unpublished Manuscript by Richard Wright Being a Continuation of Black Boy, the rare, privately printed final section of Wright’s autobiography, dropped from the original edition but here published with Wright’s permission by his biographer (Estimate: $1,000-$1,500); Palmer Cox’s The Brownies Through the Union, first edition, 1895, in the rare original dust jacket matching the design of the boards (Estimate: $1,000-$1,500); and a first printing of Alexander Pope’s “The Rape of the Lock,” 1712, one of numerous poems by Pope in the first edition of Miscellaneous Poems and Translation, By Several Hands (Estimate: $1,000-$1,500).


The sale will begin at 11:00 am Pacific Time and the public may preview the auction Tuesday and Wednesday, September 4th and 5th, 9am-5pm and on Thursday, September 6th, 9-11am at PBA Galleries in San Francisco. For more information, please contact the galleries at (415) 989-2665 or [email protected]

Mexican-American War Prominent in August 23rd Sale

Handwritten Diary by Montana Miner

Handwritten Diary by Montana Miner

On Thursday, August 23rd, PBA Galleries will host a sale of Americana & the Mexican American War – Travel & Exploration – Cartography of over 700 lots of historically important material from the 18th through 20th centuries, covering the exploration, settlement, civilization, and cultural transformations of the Americas and the world at large, and also the wars and battles that are ever present. The offering contains books, photographs, maps, documents, letters, manuscripts, items signed by United States Presidents, ephemera, and more. Included is a large collection of printed and manuscript items relating to the Mexican-American War of the late 1840’s, in which the United States wrested large swathes of territory from Mexico, what is now the Southwest.

Featured in the sale is an original handwritten diary kept by Montana gold mine manager J. Russell Hodge, who as a young man in his 20’s arrived in Montana from his home in Boston with his father, to manage a gold mining operation near Virginia City. His diary gives rare, gripping accounts of desperados, thievery and vigilante action, as well as the day-to-day operations of the mine, socializing in nearby Helena and his own trial, with his father, for murder when they killed a man in defense of their home and mine. A truly remarkable account. (Estimate: $6,000-$9,000)

Map of the Seat of War in Mexico

Map of the Seat of War in Mexico

The sale will offer a number of lots pertaining to the Mexican-American War including the official printing of the “secret” version of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which was under consideration by the U. S. Senate. Although the treaty was signed in February 1848, its provisions were kept secret while the Senate debated its ratification. This treaty gave the U. S. an addition of land equaled in size only by the Louisiana and Alaska purchases (Estimate: $2,000-$3,000). Also of interest to Mexican-American War collectors is second most important map of the war, A Correct Map of the Seat of War in Mexico, 1847. It is a copy of the map captured from General Mariano Arista at Resaca de la Palma, with additions and corrections. Visually, this map is among the liveliest Mexican-American War images, depicting Manifest Destiny in full-tilt cartographical mode (Estimate: $1,500-$2,000).

Oregon and California in 1848, by J. Quinn Thornton, published in two volumes in 1849, is an important early work on the California gold fields. This first edition contains a folding map by J. H. Colton, Map of California, Oregon, Texas, and the Territories adjoining with Routes &c. It also gives the first lengthy account of the Donner tragedy (Estimate: $2,500-$3,500). Another lot where California is featured is an original order book from R.J. Waters & Co., with some 182 gelatin silver photographs of sights and scenes in San Francisco from the mid-19th to the early 20th centuries. The images show the growth and evolution of the city from its earliest days (Estimate: $3,000-$5,000).

Signed by John Hancock

Signed by John Hancock

Two lots signed by American icons are also featured. The first, an engraved military appointment on vellum, was signed by Abraham Lincoln on March 22, 1865, less than a month before he would be assassinated by John Wilkes Booth (Estimate: $5,000-$8,000). The other is an affectionate autograph note from John Hancock to his wife, in 1791, presenting a “Token of my Love and Affection,” boldly signed (Estimate: $3,000-$5,000).

The sale will begin at 11:00 am Pacific Time and the public may preview the auction Monday, August 20th, 1-5pm, Tuesday and Wednesday, August 21st and 22nd, 9am-5pm and on Thursday, August 23rd, 9-11am at PBA Galleries in San Francisco. For more information, please contact the galleries at (415) 989-2665 or [email protected]

Early Dust Jackets Featured in August 9th Sale

Leaves of Grass in an Early Dust Jacket

Leaves of Grass in an Early Dust Jacket

On August 9th, PBA Galleries in San Francisco will hold an auction of Fine & Rare Books – Art & Illustration – Asian & Asian-American Material featuring The Bret Sharp Collection of Books in Early Dust Jackets. On offer, will be over 600 lots of rare books, illustrated books, children’s books, Asian art books, and more. The main section of the auction ranges from early printings of legal and religious texts to 20th century scientific works, finely bound books and sets, fine printing, literary ephemera, and more. Art, illustration and children’s books, from Baum and Beardsley to Rackham and Rivera, are followed by a selection of East Asian art and illustrated books, primarily from China and Japan.

The use of printed dust jackets to protect and market books was largely an early twentieth century innovation in publishing and for collectors of modern books the presence and condition of the dust jacket can have an exponential effect on the value of a book. The most extreme example perhaps being F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, a copy without a dust jacket is offered in this sale with an estimate of $2000/3000, if the dust jacket were present and in very good condition, we would estimate this volume at more than $100,000.00. Despite the late popularity of dust jackets, numerous earlier examples exist. The Sharp collection brings together scores of early dust jackets on classic literary and historical works.

A copy of Walt Whitman’s great poetry collection, Leaves of Grass, with a copyright of 1891 but believed to be an undated printing issued in 1896, is offered in a very early dust jacket. Although unrecorded, it is perhaps the earliest jacket known for this work (Estimate: $7,000-$10,000). An Object of Pity, or, The Man Haggard [with] Objects of Pity, or Self and Company by A Gentleman of Quality written by Robert Louis Stevenson and “Many Competent Hands” are both in French fold parchment dust-wrappers. Privately printed with a speculated edition of only 35, it is perhaps the most unattainable of Stevenson’s works (Estimate: $5,000-$8,000). An early American edition of Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days, c. 1878, in the original terra-cotta colored cloth pictorially decorated in black and gilt is offered with the original publisher’s printed dust jacket (Estimate: $4,000-$6,000).

Brinkley's The Oriental Series

Brinkley’s The Oriental Series

Highlights from the Asian section of the sale include the massive overview of East Asian art, “Toyo Bijutsu Taikwan” [The Collection of the Eastern Arts], in sixteen massive volumes with numerous plates, some color, presenting an overview of historic east Asian art and artifacts, published in 1919 (Estimate: $15,000-$25,000). Captain F. Brinkley’s The Oriental Series: Japan & China, 1 of 50 sets of the Viceroy Edition printed on Japan Vellum. This edition is elaborately illustrated with inserted plates, some colored and many on silk and bound in period full green morocco, elaborately stamped in gilt with a floral motif (Estimate: $2,500-$3,500).

Other featured items include: Willy Pogany’s illustrated edition of the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, 1930, limited to 1250 copies signed by Pogany, bound in full morocco tooled in gilt (Estimate: $1,500-$2,500); Marcel Gromaire’s striking livre d’artiste of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, with 20 original etchings, limited to 200 copies signed by the artist (Estimate: $3,000-$5,000); A Defence of M. Perkins Booke, Called A Reformed Catholike, 1606, by Anthony Wotton, the English Puritan clergyman and controversialist (Estimate: $1,500-$2,500); and Trigonometria Artificialis, by Adriaan Vlacq, 1633, the first table of logarithmic trigonometric functions, containing the logarithmic sines and tangents to ten places of figures (Estimate: $1,500-$2,500).

Pogany's Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (2)

Pogany’s Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (2)

The sale will begin at 11:00 am Pacific Time and the public may preview the auction Monday, August 6th, 1-5pm, Tuesday and Wednesday, August 7th and 8th, 9am-5pm and on Thursday, August 9th, 9-11am at PBA Galleries in San Francisco. For more information, please contact the galleries at (415) 989-2665 or [email protected]

Impressive Results at Debut Pen Sale

Montblanc Kandinsky 18K Gold Skeleton Artisan Edition

Montblanc Kandinsky 18K Gold Skeleton Artisan Edition

PBA Galleries seized leadership of the Fine Writing Instruments auction market in its successful debut Fine Pens sale on July 19th in San Francisco. The 361 lot auction attracted participants from all over the globe, and over 90% of the lots sold went above their low estimates.

Montblanc Artisan Edition pens performed particularly well in the sale. A Montblanc Leonardo da Vinci 18K gold skeleton fountain pen soared past its $14,000-18,000 estimate to achieve $48,000, while a Genghis Khan 18K gold fountain pen brought $45,000 with an estimate of $14,000-18,000. A Montblanc Charlie Chaplin 18K gold skeleton fountain pen also reached $45,000 with an estimate of $20,000-25,000, and a Wassily Kandinsky “Masters of Abstract Art” 18K gold skeleton fountain pen fetched $24,000. Strong Montblanc results extended to Writers Series and Patron of Art series pens as well, with a Peter I the Great and Catherine II the Great matching-numbered pair of Patron of Art pens achieving $10,200, an Alexander the Great Patron pen reaching $4500, and a Marcel Proust Writers Series pen selling for $2160.

Architect's Fountain Pen

Architect’s Fountain Pen

Vintage Montblanc rarities also found favor in the sale, with 43 of 44 vintage lots sold, many of them well above the estimate range. A Montblanc No. 12 “Goliath” reached $9000, while a Montblanc Architect’s pen sold for $6000 and a No. 128 Platinum-Lined celluloid pen fetched $2700.

Parker 47 "Pregnant Parker" FP

Parker 47 “Pregnant Parker” FP

Other brands achieved impressive results as well, with a Montegrappa White Nights 18K gold fountain pen selling for $6600, an OMAS Gentleman Seaman 18K gold pen selling for $5400 and an OMAS Aleksandr Pushkin 18K gold pen reaching $4800. Vintage results include a Parker No. 47 eyedropper pen (known to collectors as the “Pregnant Parker”), circa 1925, which sold for $5400; a rare Pilot-Namiki red lacquer maki-e pen by Shogo, circa 1925, which reached an impressive $24,000; and a Dunhill-Namiki Goldfish maki-e pen, Yukari-sized, 1930s, which achieved $6600.

PBA Galleries’ Director of Fine Pens, Ivan Briggs, said: “The market for fine pens continues to grow, with demand for outstanding modern and vintage Montblancs leading the way. Montblanc’s Artisan Editions are truly pocket-sized masterpieces, and the dynamic response to our sale demonstrates the high regard in which these pens are held. The strong surge of interest for vintage Montblancs shows that the company’s present successes are founded upon a hundred-year history of great pen design and meticulous craftsmanship”.

PBA Galleries’ next Fine Pens sale is scheduled for December 6th, 2018. For information on that sale, consignments or auction results, please contact Ivan Briggs at PBA Galleries at (415) 989-2665 or [email protected]

Call of the Wild Modern Literature on July 26th

The Call of the Wild in beautiful dust jacket

The Call of the Wild in beautiful dust jacket

On Thursday, July 26th, PBA Galleries will host a sale of over 550 lots of fine literature, mostly from the 20th century, with a few from earlier times, and a handful from our current millennium. Included are first editions of key works by the major authors of our time, most in the original dust jackets, many signed or inscribed. There is a large selection of works by Charles Bukowski, with a number of limited editions containing original oil paintings by the rogue poet. Also present are significant works or sizable collections by William S. Burroughs, Truman Capote, Willa Cather, Stephen Crane, John Fante, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Graham Greene, Ernest Hemingway, Jack Kerouac, Stephen King, Jack London, Flannery O’Connor, Michael Shaara, Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Richard Wright, and many others.

A first edition of Jack London’s best and most enduring work, The Call of the Wild, is a highlight of the sale. Published in 1903 shortly after its serialized appearance in the Saturday Evening Post, it contains Illustrations by Philip R. Goodwin and Charles Livingston Bull and page decorations by Charles E. Hooper. Rarely is a copy found in such a beautifully preserved dust jacket. (Estimate: $3,000-$5,000)

Featured in the sale is one of the most influential books ever written, Uncle Tom’s Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Immensely popular when published in 1852, the anti-slavery novel helped fuel the abolitionist movement in the mid-19th century. This first printing is in the original gilt stamped and lettered cloth. (Estimate: $3,000-$5,000)

Richard Wright’s memoir of his youth in the South, Black Boy, originally was titled American Hunger and contained a second part about his young adult life in Chicago. When Black Boy was published without these chapters, Wright gave his eventual biographer, Constance Webb, permission to publish them. Offered in this sale is one of the rare First Edition which was limited to 500 numbered copies published for private circulation. (Estimate: $2,000-$3,000)

Bukowski original art in South of No North

Bukowski original art in South of No North

A scarce deluxe copy of Bukowski’s first short story collection with Black Sparrow, South of No North: Stories of the Buried Life, contains original artwork by the author. This is No. 46 of 60 deluxe copies of the First Edition, 50 of which were for sale. A colorful work of art in what appears to be pastels and signed “Buk” in large purple letters is tipped in following the title pages. (Estimate: $3,000-$5,000)

Other lots featured in the sale include signed and inscribed first editions of: Catch-22, Joseph Heller’s classic novel of World War II, a first edition inscribed and signed by Heller on the front free endpaper (Estimate: $3,000-$5,000); a first edition of the anti-war novel, Slaughterhouse-Five, inscribed by Vonnegut on half title with his signature (Estimate: $2,500-$3,500); Mickey Spillane’s first book, I, the Jury, with a long inscription by the author (Estimate: $2,000-$3,000); and inscribed by Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream ($700-$1,000).

Slaughterhouse Five

Slaughterhouse Five

The sale will begin at 11:00 am Pacific Time and the public may preview the auction Monday, July 23rd, 1-5pm, Tuesday and Wednesday, July 24th and 25th, 9am-5pm and on Thursday, July 26th, 9-11am at PBA Galleries in San Francisco. For more information, please contact the galleries at (415) 989-2665 or [email protected]

Colonial and Revolutionary Americana and More July 12th

1st French edition of US Constitution

1st French edition of US Constitution

On Thursday, July 12th, PBA Galleries will host an auction of Fine Americana – Travel & Exploration – World History – Cartography with over 700 lots of rare and interesting material, ranging from colonial America and the Revolution through to heady days of the Gold Rush, the tragedy of the Civil War, and the settling of the plains and mountain west, culminating in civil rights movements of the 20th century. Beyond the North American continent are voyages to the far reaches of the globe, and scarce historical accounts of the clashes of competing cultures. A large selection of maps shows the growth of geographic knowledge of the world, and charts the expansion of civilizations. The eclectic gathering includes printed books, manuscripts, letters, ephemera, photographs, maps, atlases, and much more.

The first French edition of the 1787 Federal Constitution of the United States is printed with the second edition of the constitutions of the thirteen original states in the 1792 Constitutions des Treize Etats-Unis de l’Amérique. The date of this edition is significant, coming in the midst of the French Revolution, at a point when the French revolutionaries were drafting their own constitution and this edition may have aided in that project. (Estimate: $5,000-$8,000)

Thomas Moran's Grand Canyon Chromolithograph

Thomas Moran’s Grand Canyon Chromolithograph

Two lots of graphic arts are featured in the sale. A majestic elephant folio chromolithograph of the Grand Canyon by Thomas Moran shows a tremendous sweep of the scenery from Hermit Run with the bright colors of the Canyon against the turbulent colors of the sky (Estimate: $3,000-$5,000). A second state print of the famous 1583 Jodocus Hondius portrait of Sir Francis Drake is generally considered the best contemporary portrait of the famed explorer (Estimate: $3,000-$5,000).

Great-Britain’s Coasting Pilot, by Greenville Collins, contains 48 engraved plates, most of them double-page charts of ports, harbors and coasts of England, Scotland, and Wales, and printed on thick paper is featured from the Travel & Exploration part of the sale (Estimate: $5,000-$8,000). The first British edition of William Bartram’s Travels through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East & West Florida is a classic account of Southern natural history and exploration with much information on the Indian tribes of the south. (Estimate: $3,000-$5,000).

Horn's Overland Guide

Horn’s Overland Guide

Additional highlights include three lots with ties to California and the West: the first edition of Hosea Horn’s Overland Guide from Council Bluffs to Sacramento, from 1852, is considered among the best guides of the Gold Rush period, and has a large folding map (Estimate: $4,000-$6,000); a prospectus or proof sheet for the first California newspaper, The Californian, Volume 1, Number 1, 1846, published in broadsheet format by Walter Colton and printed on the press used by California’s first printer, Agustin V. Zamorano (Estimate: $3,000-$5,000); and a 1764 first English edition of The History of Kamtschatka, and the Kurilski Islands, by Stephan Krasheninnikov, which contains one of the earliest descriptions of Russian America (Estimate: $3,000-$5,000).

Finally, featured from the Cartography section of the auction, H.H. Lloyd’s detailed wall map in pocket form, 12000 Square Miles Around New York City, published in 1866, shows the environs of New York City on a scale of two and one-half miles to the inch. The map extends from Long Branch on the Jersey Shore to Rhinebeck in the Hudson Valley; and from Patchogue on Long Island to Trenton, New Jersey. The map is so detailed that even blacksmith shops are located. (Estimate: $3,000-$5,000)

The sale will begin at 11:00 am Pacific Time and the public may preview the auction Monday, July 9th, 1-5pm, Tuesday and Wednesday, July 10th and 11th, 9am-5pm and on Thursday, July 12th, 9-11am at PBA Galleries in San Francisco. For more information, please contact the galleries at (415) 989-2665 or [email protected]

Art & Illustration with Asian Material to Delight on June 28th

Toyo Bijutsu Taikwan

Toyo Bijutsu Taikwan

On Thursday, June 28th, PBA Galleries will hold an Art & Illustration auction which will include Asian and Asian-American material. Over 360 lots will be up for bidding, featuring a remarkable gathering of works on the art, culture and literature of East Asia, primarily Japan and China, many with original woodblock illustrations, and including screen prints and lithographs by modern Japanese artists. The melding of eastern and western cultures is revealed in The Richard Harris Smith Collection of Asian-American Literature & Illustration, with primary and early examples of their work. Topping it off are illustrated books and original graphics from western cultures.

Two highlighted works showcase Asian art through the ages. “Toyo Bijutsu Taikwan” [The Collection of the Eastern Arts], from 1919, is offered in a rare complete 16 large volume set with superbly illustrated with Japanese and Chinese paintings and sculpture from all ages. There are eight volumes on Japanese paintings and woodblock prints, five on Chinese paintings, and three on sculptures with images reproduced in exactly the same style and time period as the originals including woodcuts printed on silk. (Estimate: $15,000-$25,000)

Osvald Sirén’s Chinese Sculpture from the Fifth to the Fourteenth Century, in 4 volumes, is a rare complete set of this landmark work. Illustrated with 623 monochrome plates, it depicts over 900 specimens in stone, lacquer and wood, principally from Northern China. Sirén was a Swedish art historian who also wrote works on Chinese gardens and painting. (Estimate: $15,000-$25,000)

Tang Poetry

Tang Poetry

Other featured Asian works are: The Tomb of Painted Basket of Lo-Lang, a detailed archeological report of excavations of T’ang Dynasty tombs in present North Korea, and the discovery of an immaculately preserved painted basket (Estimate: $3,000-$5,000); “Tonshi sen sho non” [T'ang Poetry], in 5 volumes, is a rare early 19th century printing, extensively illustrated with striking line cuts in sewn wrappers (Estimate: $2,000-$3,000); and a beautiful set of four long ink and watercolor pictorial scrolls from the latter 19th century recording Japanese impressions of Russia, her people, military, culture, etc. (Estimate: $2,000-$3,000).
A highlight from The Richard Harris Smith Collection is the first novel by a Nisei, The Rendezvous of Mysteries, by Karl S. Nakagawa. Released in 1928, this is the first published novel written by an American-born person of Japanese ancestry, or Nisei, and is in the rare original dust jacket. (Estimate: $1,000-$1,500)



Rounding out the sale, other featured items include: an original pen and ink cartoon drawing by Charles Schulz featuring Snoopy as a golfer, done for the program of the 38th Bing Crosby Pro-Am tournament at Pebble Beach, 1965 (Estimate: $7,000-$10,000); the quite rare Textiles by E.A. Seguy, c.1901, with twenty color lithographed plates of Art Nouveau designs for textiles (Estimate: $1,000-$1,500); and a rare set of lithographed progressive proofs for Jean Charlot’s Picture Book, 1933, one of only five sets, of which four were bound, this one for Merle Armitage (Estimate: $3,000-$5,000).

Original Snoopy cartoon drawing

Original Snoopy cartoon drawing

The sale will begin at 11:00 am Pacific Time and the public may preview the auction Monday, June 25th, 1-5pm, Tuesday and Wednesday, June 26th and 27th, 9am-5pm and on Thursday, June 28th, 9-11am at PBA Galleries in San Francisco. For more information, please contact the galleries at (415) 989-2665 or [email protected]

Record Prices Among Strong Results at May 31st Americana Auction

293557_1On May 31st, PBA Galleries offered a significant selection of rarities in their Americana with Manuscript Material – Travel & Exploration – Cartography Sale.

A rare First Edition of The Federalist, the highlight of the auction, justifiably considered the most important book in the political history of the United States, soared to $223,500 over an estimate of $80,000-120,000 in bustling bidding by a full bank of phone bidders. The Federalist, presenting essays by founding fathers James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay, meant to convince state legislatures of the fragile confederation that had just gained independence from Great Britain, to combine in a United States with a common government and purpose under the new constitution. This copy of the rare 1788 first edition, of which only 500 copies were printed, was one of the exceptionally rare deluxe copies printed on thick superfine royal writing paper, the two volumes bound in contemporary sheep. The importance of the Federalist to the early development of the great political experiment that was the United States cannot be overstated. The strong price was the most a book has ever sold for at PBA Galleries, topping the $212,000 fetched by a first edition fetched in 2008 for a copy of the official account of the Lewis and Clark expedition.

Signed by John AdamsA presentation copy of Jonathan Mayhew’s A Discourse, Concerning Unlimited Submission and Non-Resistance to the Higher Powers; with some reflections on the resistance made to King Charles I bearing the signature of John Adams, the second President of the United States volleyed between two online bidders to reach $10,800. Estimated at $8,000- 12,000, the inscription for the presentation is not in Adams’ hand and although previous records named the recipient as daughter Abigail “Nabby” Smith, this is now thought to be in error and it is possible the book was presented to a more distant relation of Abigail Adams (nee Smith).

A typed letter, signed “Edgar.” 22 lines, on letterhead of the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, to Franklin Roosevelt’s special adviser Harry Hopkins in 1942, framed along with a copy of a newspaper article about the saboteurs, and a porcupine emblem they had carved while aboard a submarine sold for over twenty times the low estimate of $500 with a price realized of $10,200. J. Edgar Hoover relates that “When I saw you the other day, I believe I told you that the group of saboteurs who landed on Long Island from a German submarine had carved out, while on the submarine en route to the United States, miniature porcupines from aluminum. The reason that they selected the porcupine to be carved was because the submarine which they came on was named the ‘Porcupine.’ I am enclosing herewith two of these miniature porcupines, as I thought the President and you might like to have one each as a souvenir of this incident.” Four saboteurs landed on Long Island, and four more in Florida. Two of them surrendered, and gave information to the FBI which led to the capture of the other six. The two informants were given lengthy prison sentences (commuted by Harry Truman in 1948) – the other six were executed.
The first appearance in a magazine of The Defence of Fort M’Henry, the four-stanza poem that was to become The Star-Spangled Banner, in the November 1814 issue of The Analectic Magazine commanded a price of $4,800 topping the high estimate of $3,500. In 1950 Carroll Wilson wrote in Familiar Quotations (page 391) about the rarity of this issue of The Analectic Magazine in wrappers, stating that “No other copy of this . . . number is known to have survived in original state.” Other copies have since come to light, but it is a rare survival. As Filby & Howard document, this issue of the Analectic Magazine was published in early November, 1814, about seven weeks after the famous bombardment; the poem’s appearance here is preceded by numerous newspaper appearances and a few separate printings in small broadside formats, but this is its first publication in a “permanent” format.

The Rough Riders, signed by author Theodore Roosevelt, trounced the presale estimate of $600-900 reaching a price of $3,600. This is Teddy Roosevelt’s own account of his heroic actions in Cuba when he famously charged San Juan Hill, catapulting him to the Governorship of New York, the Vice Presidency and the White House.

PBA Galleries holds sales of fine, rare and collectible books every two weeks. For more information regarding upcoming sales, consignments, or auction results, please contact PBA Galleries at (415) 989-2665 or [email protected]

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